BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)– A breast cancer support group is moving to the area with the help of a Tri-Cities resident.
Surviving breast cancer was the first battle for Bristol resident Beverly McGee, but the next came during recovery.
“You end up after treatment sort of taken aback,” said McGee. “You’re not yourself anymore. You don’t know what to do next. You don’t know where to turn.”
McGee is the regional director for the new breast cancer support group coming to the area.
Breast Cancer Recovery in Action or BRA offers support for people going through the recovery process by connecting them with other survivors, providing fitness and nutrition programs to help them build back their health, and helping them develop an after-cancer life plan.
“Usually, say it’s a mind, body and spirit recovery after you have gone through all of the medical stuff,” said McGee.
The program began during the pandemic in Middle Tennessee with just three locations. It has since grown to 11 locations and is now moving to Bristol.
When McGee moved to Bristol in 2021 from Middle Tennessee, she asked if they could branch to the Tri-Cities. The program agreed.
Co-founder and executive director Nancy Brown is proud of where the program has grown to and is excited about this next extension.
“So we have mentored thousands of people since we were diagnosed ourselves and have experience doing programing,” said Brown. “And so we just thought ‘wonder if we could just make a non-profit and do this?’ We didn’t have any funding. We just had a lot of excitement and passion for what it is we’re doing.”
BRA has mentored hundreds of people since its founding through their program activities and personal connections.
Both of these women want people to know that BRA and the support it brings can be life-changing.
“And it gave me the love and the the uplifting support that I needed. Honestly, I would say that it saved my life,” said McGee.
“If we can give back, if we can share the things that we’ve learned, and the contacts we’ve made along the way, and the resources that we’ve gathered, and we can sit with somebody who’s just been diagnosed and their doctor has said ‘you have an aggressive cancer,’” said Brown. “Then we can say, ‘well what does that really mean? I’m a 22-year survivor and my prognosis wasn’t very good to begin with either, so here I am 22 years later and you can be too.'”
The new group begins in January 2023 in the Bristol area. You can find out more about the group and their events on their website at www.bragroup.org.